Pizza and Politics 2

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Pizza and Politics, two events sponsored by the Political Science Department, brought Political Science majors, prospective majors and faculty members together to casually talk about politics, hear what majors have been researching, and explore possibilities for future events. Students expressed interest in doing a film series, having round table discussions and creating an undergraduate journal.

On Thursday, October 10, Pizza and Politics 2 featured Landon Webber ’14, a Fellow of the 2013 Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies (RIRS).

“Identifying Best Practices in the Design of Central Office Performance Evaluations in Public Schools”

Landon served as a research intern this past summer with the newly-unified Shelby County school district through the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies. His research focused on identifying research-based best practices for evaluating all 7,000 of the non-instructional employees in the unified district. Over the course of his project, Landon collaborated with Shelby County Schools staff to interview representatives from FedEx, the Baptist Memorial Hospitals network and the New York City Department of Education. In addition, with the help of his faculty mentor, Professor Mark Pohlmann, Landon surveyed scholarly literature on the subject of performance evaluations and conducted a review of 41 model performance evaluation systems from around the country. Landon′s research produced a model evaluation rubric and policy proposal detailing how the new system ought to work and be put into place. Landon′s work is serving as the basis for focus group discussions throughout this school year which will eventually produce the final, revised performance evaluation system for all the non-instructional staff of Shelby County Schools, including everyone from clerical staff and teaching assistants to cabinet-level administrators. Landon will continue to intern with the unified Shelby County school district.

Students enjoy a variety of pizzas, veggies, soft drinks and desserts while talking with Political Science faculty members and each other.